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Uptone Audio Regen

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SMPS

 

I am ordering up a variety of small Chinese tabletop models (you know, the ones with detachable AC cords--might make life easier for folks overseas, plus wall warts are always a pain to plug in). I'm going to try both regulated linears and SMPS. I just need to find out if any of those will sound different or if it is just that my JS-2 is so much better than any possible cheap supply. I am sure that is the case--and really for the Regen it is not huge--but I might as well try a few before I commit for a pile of them.

 

Alex, if you're interested in trying another compact "tabletop" SMPS, the model shipped with the Metric Halo ULN-8 DAC is Fairway VE50-2400. Metric Halo users who try alternatives have not reported any benefit, so it might be worth your investigation.

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SMPS

 

 

 

Alex, if you're interested in trying another compact "tabletop" SMPS, the model shipped with the Metric Halo ULN-8 DAC is Fairway VE50-2400. Metric Halo users who try alternatives have not reported any benefit, so it might be worth your investigation.

Not all. ;-)

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It is only Monday Jason--and a holiday at that. Give me another day or two and your patience will be rewarded! :)

Suspense continues. :)

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Sorry guys, I got really busy at the end of the week. And today I am procrastinating on doing my taxes on this rainy Sunday.

 

Anyway, here is the announcement and Jason's (jtwrace) thank you bonus:

 

Jason really pushed me to reconsider and try a new round of domestic bidding on production of the PCB for the Regen (raw 4-layer PCB, and surface-mount assembly). And although I knew JAXX Manufacturing was producing boards for Schiit Audio, I had never had them bid. So I went ahead and contacted them. The owner is very friendly and professional, and the bid he gave me was quite competitive with our usual Canada/China vendor. Because JAXX was really busy but wanted to give me a good quote, they gave it to me piecemeal throughout the week. Their assembly labor bid was amazingly low (on my Mac mini MMK board also), but the final turnkey bid with parts and PCBs ended up being about equal to the quote from our regular house--even with high chipping costs from China. Still, being able to go domestic, with a facility that I can even visit on trips to Southern California, not having to hassle with wire transfers (heck he is offering me terms, but I have a cash in advance mindset, so I'll take a prepay discount), and all the other good things about such--has me quite happy.

 

So as a "thank you" to Jason, he will be receiving a free UpTone Audio USB REGEN for free once shipments from the first 100 units begins. Based on lead times, I am still shooting for the end of March.

 

BTW, in discussing technical details of the changeover to a different PCB fabricator, John had me provide to the new vendor the 4-layer "stack-up" specs that our regular board house uses. Things like gold immersion (called ENIG), the thickness of the cores between the copper layers, the "Prepreg" material, etc. all matter because with this 4-layer board John designed it for optimal impedance matching. So I asked John if the prototype boards we have been listening to--made by a different, local house he uses for protos--had the stack-up he designed to. He said no, and that means the production boards, when done to the specs they were designed for, will have better impedance characteristics and may sound even better than what I have been listening to. Oh boy!

 

Okay, back to our darn taxes… :)

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Have you decided on a power supply? Can you give us any details?

 

This has been a big week for REGEN. I'm spending money like mad. Boards are on order and should arrive by March 25. Looks like the first run--with boards, chassis, PS, and all the goodies--is going to cost me about $8,000. Major butterflies in my stomach.

 

Have spent a ton of time researching small power supplies to include with the REGEN. Buying samples, listening comparisons, busting them open to check build quality, etc. Choices are somewhat limited in that the output voltage needs to be:

a) Above 6 volts since one of the expensive ultra-low-noise regulators is being used to make clean 5V for any USB devices which need it;

but

b) Below about 9V since we want the REGEN to be usable by those people whose DACs are entirely bus powered, and if one of those DACs draws the 500mA USB-spec allowed max., then the 4V drop from 9V to 5V is going to generate 2W of heat on a regulator with no heat sink. (If not using an entirely bus-powered DAC--say just powering your USB input, then a 12V or greater supply could even be used, though there is no need.)

 

Thus I have been looking in the 6-8V range, and that is what we are silkscreening below the DC jack. Lots of 5, 9, and 12V supplies, but fewer in between.

And oh, we can forget about including a linear. The affordable tabletop linears are unregulated (just a transformer and diodes) and are crap. The regulated linears are wall warts and unless one spends a LOT for a giant beast that covers your whole outlet, they just don't have much reserve capacitance and sound thin. Besides, I ran into the voltage range thing there too--mostly 12V and 24V.

 

So it has come down to picking the best affordable, SMPS. It has to be from a quality manufacturer--no untraceable junk off Alibaba--and readily available. I examined models from all the usual reputable brands, and for construction, raw specs, and availability in the desired voltage, Mean Well came out well above the others (plus John has used those for years with his computers and finds them reliable and quiet--and I think they kick a bit less noise back into the AC mains than most others).

 

I went back and forth with regards to their GE24 series which are wall warts with interchangeable plugs for various countries--versus their GS25A series which are small bricks with a standard IEC320/C14 inlet so people can use a short cord with their own local plug (I'll provide an 18-inch shielded one). With the 7.5V version the former is a 15W unit and the latter is 22W. The largest wattage units seem to have the most reserve capacitance at their outputs even though they are overkill for the tiny REGEN. Yeah, Mean Well makes a 40W and 45W version also, but they got expensive and are not well stocked in the 7.5V edition. Starts to get silly anyway. If you want ultimate SQ from the REGEN, then an awesome LPS will be the way to go.

 

I listened to a bunch of these things and other than not liking the little 0.5A/6V linear regulated Jameco, and LOVING the UpTone JS-2, there was not a world of difference between the various SMPS I tried in this application.

 

So unless someone comes up with some fantastic, affordable, and available small PS (one dimension needs to be 40mm or under to fit in the planned box) in the next 5 days, here is the one you will be getting with the USB Regen: Mean Well GS25A07 (BTW, despite what the spec sheet says for the lower voltage units, the DC cable on this model is a shielded 16awg, not the thinner 18awg.)

 

All that said, John and I are simmering an idea for a super-clean, totally unique, add on PS for REGEN, but it won't be cheap. Based on rough parts, it would retain for more than the REGEN itself. But we would also make it switchable between 5V and 6V since once people see this they will be dying to power SSDs, etc. with it.

 

Speaking of prices, I promise to publish the final price for REGEN by the middle of next week. Still waiting on the milling/silkscreening quote from Japan.

 

By the way, based on popular demand a desire to look classy, the REGEN is going to be black on black.

 

That's all for now folks! :)

 

--Alex.

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Looking forward to hearing this unit. all of us with the UpTone JS-2 will save you a bit of money on power supplies as there is no need to send, just help spec out the correct cable!

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b) Below about 9V since we want the REGEN to be usable by those people whose DACs are entirely bus powered, and if one of those DACs draws the 500mA USB-spec allowed max., then the 4V drop from 9V to 5V is going to generate 2W of heat on a regulator with no heat sink. (If not using an entirely bus-powered DAC--say just powering your USB input, then a 12V or greater supply could even be used, though there is no need.)

--Alex.

 

Hi Alex,

 

Am I correct that the REGEN can be powered using a 12VDC supply if the DAC is not USB-powered?

 

IMHO people looking at REGEN is likely to be (a) using LPS everywhere; and (b) not using a USB-powered DAC. So as stellablues mentioned perhaps an option to not include the SMPS wallwart could save you and the buyer some money (cost of PSU and shipping).

 

Perhaps you can poll the ones on the waiting list to see who needs the SMPS PSU before ordering a whole bunch of them. I have too many SMPS wallwarts lying around doing nothing already. Just an idea.

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Where does the Regen get its name from? Just curious.

 

Superdad is a huge Reagan admirer but a bad speller.

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Take my money now!

 

Thanks Tommy, but this ain't no crowd-fleecing campaign! ;)

 

But seriously, I will be announcing the price on Monday.

I misunderstood my Japanese enclosure supplier on the lead time for the milling/silkscreening. I thought he meant they would ship on March 27, but he meant 27 business days. Luckily I think they work Saturdays, so they still should ship to me April 3rd or sooner--add a couple of days for FedEx. I will have the finished PCBs (made right here in California!) the last week of March, so I can spend the time testing, etc.

 

Have a great weekend everyone,

--Alex C.

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Thanks Tommy, but this ain't no crowd-fleecing campaign! ;)

 

But seriously, I will be announcing the price on Monday.

I misunderstood my Japanese enclosure supplier on the lead time for the milling/silkscreening. I thought he meant they would ship on March 27, but he meant 27 business days. Luckily I think they work Saturdays, so they still should ship to me April 3rd or sooner--add a couple of days for FedEx. I will have the finished PCBs (made right here in California!) the last week of March, so I can spend the time testing, etc.

 

Have a great weekend everyone,

--Alex C.

 

any news on the pricing?

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any news on the pricing?

 

The Uptone/Swenson USB REGEN will be officially priced at… drumroll please… $175.

 

Includes:

a) the REGEN itself in an all black with silver printed aluminum case (57 x 46 x 18mm)

 

b) the best spec'ed and sounding 22 watt/7.5V/2.93A (overkill) tabletop (93 x 54 x 36mm) SMPS I could find (use a nice linear if you want--in the range of 6-9V; or even 12V or more if your DAC is not deriving all its power from USB bus);

 

c) an 18-inch Volex shielded 18awg power cord to go from the SMPS to the wall (get fancy or if you are overseas use a power cord with locally appropriate plug);

 

d) a male/male USB A/B solid adapter plug (for hanging the REGEN right from the back of your DAC; maybe stick a block of something under it if you feel it needs support);

 

e) a 6-inch male/male USB A/B cable if things are too tight around your DAC's USB input or you just don't want to use the solid adapter.

 

f) a three-year, transferrable warranty.

 

Assuming we can get everything into a USPS Small Flat Rate Box, postal shipping in the USA is just $5.25; to Canada is $19.50; Rest of world $23.50.

 

The customized enclosures will be the last thing to arrive--at the beginning of April. So shipments to all you fine and impatient people can begin middle-April. I'll send out an e-mail to (the private addresses of) everyone on our list at the beginning of April to begin taking orders and money. (I won't accept a dime until I have circuit boards in my hand and tested.) :) :)

 

That's all for now folks!

 

--Alex C.

 

Regen Face.jpg

Edited by Superdad

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Wow awesome price point!

looking forward to some photos in March before the pre-orders start happening.

Thumbs Up.

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The Uptone/Swenson USB REGEN will be officially priced at… drumroll please… $175.

 

Includes:

a) the REGEN itself in an all black with silver printed aluminum case (57 x 46 x 18mm)

 

b) the best spec'ed and sounding 22 watt/7.5V/2.93A (overkill) tabletop (93 x 54 x 36mm) SMPS I could find (use a nice linear if you want--in the range of 6-9V; or even 12V or more if your DAC is not deriving all its power from USB bus);

 

c) an 18-inch Volex shielded 18awg power cord to go from the SMPS to the wall (get fancy or if you are overseas use a power cord with locally appropriate plug);

 

d) a male/male USB A/B solid adapter plug (for hanging the REGEN right from the back of your DAC; maybe stick a block of something under it if you feel it needs support);

 

e) a 6-inch male/male USB A/B cable if things are too tight around your DAC's USB input or you just don't want to use the solid adapter.

 

f) a three-year, transferrable warranty.

 

Assuming we can get everything into a USPS Small Flat Rate Box, postal shipping in the USA is just $5.25; to Canada is $19.50; Rest of world $23.50.

 

The customized enclosures will be the last thing to arrive--at the beginning of April. So shipments to all you fine and impatient people can begin middle-April. I'll send out an e-mail to (the private addresses of) everyone on our list at the beginning of April to begin taking orders and money. (I won't accept a dime until I have circuit boards in my hand and tested.) :) :)

 

That's all for now folks!

 

--Alex C.

 

[ATTACH=CONFIG]17217[/ATTACH]

 

Cool! :)

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